Just a quick post – there is an article in the The Witness (2/25/2014) newspaper today about me.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that quite a while ago we got accepted into AppCampus (seriously, go watch the video that got us into the program) with a game about llama slaughter. We were then invited to Finland for a month-long intensive training camp called AppCademy.
Since then we’ve gone through lots of iterations, scrapped the project multiple times to start from scratch, and had team members change. The core team is now Renier Van Der Westhuizen (who has worked on awesome games like The Harvest for WP7) on art, and myself (Matt Cavanagh) on code. And we’re bringing in a few people here and there to help.
Say hello to Vicious Attack Llama Apocalypse: Alpha (VALA: Alpha in the store)!
My intern and I were asked to do a talk at the Durban University of Technology to the 3rd year IT students to excite them about the possibility of using Netduinos or/and Windows Phones in their final year projects.
We didn’t want to just show them a blinking LED, but rather something that would be relevant to a real-world scenario – so we came up with this:
Sorry for the horrible GIF. What you can probably tell is that it is a time-lapse of the Bitcoin price changing. The graph represents that change, and the LED glows green when it goes up, and red when it goes down. (There is a typo on the screen – USD should be BTC).
It was Kaila’s (my Wife) birthday yesterday, and all she requested was sparklers. Turned out to be a ton of fun!
All the photos here were taken with the Nokia Camera app on my Lumia 1020. All settings were default except shutter speed was set to 4 seconds. I didn’t have my 1020 camera cover so these are all taken free hand (no tripod) which means they’re slightly blurred (pretty hard to hold a phone still for 4 seconds ). The photos are untouched besides cropping and upping the contrast a bit.
The houses in Durban, South Africa (where I live) usually have some form of gap underneath them that ranges from 30cm to big enough to crawl inside. As far as I know it is for ventilation to help with the heat. The problem is that a bunch of squeaky rodents have decided that mine is a good home, and unfortunately the gap is pretty small so I can’t fit. So I decided to make a little car that could go scout out the area and show me what was going on under there, and possibly how to stop it.
So I built a little Bluetooth controlled car using a Netduino and a Windows Phone as a remote.
It is 2014 and control-schemes on touch screens still pretty much suck. Yes, touch is suited for a lot of games, but it just doesn’t work for shooters and racing games. That’s why there are companies like MOGA making game controllers specifically designed for phones.
I decided to make my own with an ATTiny connected to Windows Phone over Bluetooth.
You may remember the little app I wrote to convert images to real 1-bit gifs for use on the AGENT smartwatch (or wherever else you need).
Yesterday @philchuang requested that I add a threshold to the app to select how colors translate to black/white, along with a live preview. It’s a pretty good idea so I’ve just added that in.
There is now a new section which has a slider at the top that allows you to select the threshold. As you slide the preview image changes. I’ve only tested on my laptop, but perf shouldn’t be a problem.
Here are a few images to demonstrate (notice the slider at the top):
Download Version 2 EXE (~15KB) (you will need .NET 4 installed)
I’m excited to announce that Microsoft has made me a Windows Phone Development MVP for 2014! I am honored to receive it, and it is the first time that I have.
The other MVP’s (comprised of people I’ve looked up to for years) have been extremely welcoming, and seem like a great bunch. I can’t wait for the next MVP Summit to meet everyone
For those interested in numbers, I am told that there are about 30 Windows Phone MVP’s in the world, and in MEA there are only 2 (one in Turkey, and me in Africa).
The Xbox one has now been out for a couple days – which has given it enough time to gain a fair number of reviews on Amazon. The same goes for the PS4 which has had quite a bit more time.
However taking a look at the them reveals that a significant number of scathing 1* reviews are not considered “verified”, which means that the person didn’t actually buy the product from Amazon. Now, that doesn’t mean those are all fake, but it’s pretty easy to see that die-hard fanboys from both sides of the fence are attempting to create bad rep for the other.
I was interested to work out how many of these reviews were just created by trolls, so I wrote a bit of code to scrape all the reviews (only from Amazon.com) and then attempted to make sense of them in the graphs below.
I make a lot of little gadgets using the Netduino because it is such a good prototyping tool. The SDK and dev tools (Visual Studio) are very mature and usually just work. But mainly, being able to code in C# (including intellisense) is just awesome (the Arduino IDE is rather basic, and I’m not a fan of Wiring). The problem is that these boards start at $35 so it’s not feasible to put them into every little project – plus for most things the Netduino is far more powerful than what you need.
That’s where the ATTiny chips come in. They are a range of tiny little chips that use barely any power, and can control whatever you want them to. Plus, you can burn Arduino onto them to make the coding really easy.